Hospital Shadowing in Spain and Italy

Image of Hospital Shadowing in Spain and Italy
Four week programs in Italy and six week programs in Spain where students shadow doctors to gain professional experience in the medical field. Earn credit, build confidence, and be immersed in a new culture.
Location: Spain or Italy
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Program Type: Internship
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: Yes
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

UPDATE: Due to a recent law change in Spain, the four-week programs planned for Spain have been moved to Italy for Summer 2024.

  • Spend the summer in Spain or Italy shadowing doctors four days per week (for 20+ hours) over a 4 or 6 week period
  • Learn first-hand about an international publicly-funded healthcare system
  • Build confidence in a hospital setting through extensive observation of physician to patient contact
  • Gain a competitive edge in graduate school applications, domestic health related internships, and a broadened perspective on the medical vocation
  • Enroll in KU internship credit for your shadowing experience
  • Choose the 6-week program in Italy or 4-week program in Italy
  • Experience the rich culture and cuisine of Spain or Italy through weekly group excursions and group meals

The University of Kansas (KU) has partnered with Atlantis, which focuses on providing AAMC-compliant physician shadowing in an international setting, to offer a 4-6 week Hospital Shadowing Program in Spain and Italy. Atlantis Fellows are afforded the opportunity to experience global healthcare by shadowing doctors in a different specialty each week for at least 20 hours per week. This provides an ideal learning opportunity for pre-med and pre-nursing students as well as those interested in clinical health areas such as physiology, developmental biology, exercise science, medical diagnostics, microbiology, neuroscience, physical therapy, and other allied health fields.  Fellows will gain extensive observation experience in a hospital setting, a broadened perspective on the medical vocation, and a comparative lens to examine global healthcare. 

Fellows will shadow four days per week (a min. of five hours daily) from early morning to early afternoon.  Shadowing specialties vary by location and Fellows typically shadow in pairs. Though Fellows can request specialties of interest, surgery and other departments are not guaranteed. Department availability depends on the hospital and doctors’ schedules.

Each Friday of the Fellowship is reserved for an outing with the whole Fellowship group. Past excursions have included hikes, visits to local museums, sporting events, boat tours, beach trips, kayaking and even taking the train to explore another nearby city. Each excursion includes the transportation and one group lunch or dinner and is planned and led by the program’s site manager.

Participating students have received their location placements for Summer 2024.

The Summer 2024 program dates are as follows:

4-Week Italy Program      June 1 - June 28, 2024

6-Week Italy Program    June 1 - July 12, 2024

The hospital shadowing experience is for-credit and graded. Credit is available through the academic departments listed below. Due to contact hour requirements, some courses are only available for the 6-week program. All courses have variable credit hours (1-3), so each participant selects how many credits they wish to enroll in.  Please note, however, that a minimum of 3 credits is required to be eligible for summer financial aid.

BIOL 490 - Biology Internship & Practical Applications (available for up to 3 credits on both the 4 and 6 week programs)
Open to students of any major and level. Fulfills Core Goal 6.1 Integration and Creativity if taken for 3 credits.

HNRS 496 - Honors Internship (available for up to 2 credits on the 4-week programs and up to 3 credits on the 6-week program)
Open to students enrolled in the University Honors Program.

HSES 335 - Clinical Field Experience (available for up to 3 credits on both the 4-week and 6-week programs)
Open to Community Health and Exercise Science majors.

LA&S 490- Internship Exploration (available for up to 2 credits on the 4-week programs and up to 3 credits on the 6-week program)
Open to students of any major and level. Fulfills Core Goal 6.1 Integration and Creativity if taken for 3 credits.

PSYC 483 - Undergraduate Internship in Psychology (available for up to 2 credits on the 4-week programs and up to 3 credits on the 6-week program)
Open to Psychology majors and minors.

Participants will be housed in furnished university residences, hotels, or apartments.  Units are single-gender and typically double-occupancy with shared bathrooms and common spaces.  Towels, linens and internet are provided.  Transportation costs between the program housing and hospital are included in the program fee.

Airport transfers at the beginning and end of the program, listed in the budget, are estimated expenses. Atlantis will provide recommendations for the airport transfers, but it will be up to each student to choose and secure travel between the airport and their program location.

A light breakfast is provided from Mon-Fri, as well as three weekly group meals at local restaurants, one of which will be lunch on the excursion day. For most lunches, fellows buy and prepare their own food or stop in a local cafe for an inexpensive sandwich.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Additional Resources

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

This program is open to students of all undergraduate levels pursuing a career in healthcare.  A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required. Space is limited and the order in which applications were received will be taken into consideration so early application is encouraged. 

Applicants will have the opportunity to list the program of their choice. They will also have a chance to select whether or not they are interested in the other two programs if they are not chosen for their top-choice program.

Please note: the majority of participants are not fluent in Spanish or Italian and every year students with no foreign language background participate. However, because you will encounter the local language while shadowing and because doctors have varying levels of English fluency, Fellows are encouraged to have at least a basic understanding of Spanish for the programs in Spain. The program in Italy is recommended for students without any Spanish language background. These are recommendations; the Hospital Shadowing programs do not have a language requirement.

Lastly, please note as well that Atlantis (the program provider that KU partners with for this program) requires full COVID-19 vaccine, fully administered at least two weeks before the program start date, in order to participate in programs.